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Free to use with huge prize purses: What is MyWhoosh and is it a legitimate Zwift contender?

MyWhoosh indoor cycling app
(Image credit: MyWhoosh)

As many of us in the cycling world predicted a couple of years ago, the phenomenal growth in indoor cycling and the skyrocketing sales of the best turbo trainers has led to a surge in the popularity of e-sports and virtual bike racing via platforms such as Zwift and RGT. 

With this surge in popularity, however, naturally comes an equally vocal resistance. Challenges around eradicating cheating, performance verification and transparency are at the centre of many e-sports opponents’ objections. Despite this, there are plenty of companies throwing their weight behind it.

It’s no doubt a space that's dominated by Zwift, and with the recent acquisition by Wahoo, the newly-named Wahoo RGT is a strong challenger, but there’s another player looking to make waves in the world of e-sports, MyWhoosh. 

Founded by CEO Akhtar Hashmi in 2019, the UAE-based company is looking to provide another option in the virtual cycling space, with the legitimisation of e-sports as its modus operandi. MyWhoosh offers a similar package of workouts and training programs as most of its competitors, but with a particular focus on e-sports racing.

The MyWhoosh team comprises an impressive contingent of experience which the brand hopes will bring success and adoption by the e-sports community in a now highly competitive space. 

The team is headed up by Jacob Fraser, who served as Senior Manager of Brand Experience at Zwift for over three years. He helped develop Zwift's e-sports offering, including the delivery of the first in-venue e-racing event directly supported by Zwift. Fraser is among over 100 employees, primarily based in their Masdar City, Abu Dhabi headquarters. Currently, as director of e-sports, Fraser brings his depth of experience to MyWhoosh to lead the journey into the active pursuit of the virtual racing sector of the market.

Then there's the Director of product, Kevin Poulton, who joined MyWhoosh to spearhead the creation of a virtual cycling experience that encompasses all aspects of riding, including competition, community, and structured training, into an effective fitness plan. Kevin’s years as a WorldTour coach and subsequent in-game training content pioneered the effective use of indoor training at the sport's highest level.

Perhaps the most important appointment was that of veteran cycling e-sports racer, Holden Comeau, who serves as the director of data analytics. Comeau was an early adopter of e-sports as an athlete, winning the USA Cycling E-Sports National Championship in 2019 and was a member of Team USA’s inaugural world championship team. With over 300 virtual victories, Holden was the top-ranked Zwifter for almost six months in 2020. 

Unlike Zwift, which describes itself as "non-e-sports focused" where only 20 per cent of the user base competes, and competitor Wahoo RGT (formerly RGT Cycling) which claims it "isn't an event organiser", MyWhoosh is actively embracing the evolution of cycling e-sports as a legitimate distinct cycling discipline. 

MyWhoosh indoor cycling app

(Image credit: MyWhoosh)

Building a league of extraordinary e-racers

MyWhoosh hosts a weekly racing series called Sunday Race Club with a monthly prize purse of $96,000 spread over three categories, two genders, and team and individual classifications. The Winter Solstice Championship, a recent quarterly race series, saw competitors tackle seven stages over eight days for a prize purse of $37,000. 

The elite-level competition and big money attract top e-sports professionals from across the globe, including inaugural World Champion and 2022 UCI Cycling E-Sports World Championships runner-up Jason Osborne, as well as Ollie Jones, Faye Faber, and Kathrin Fuhrer, to name a few.

As part of its attempt to legitimise cycling e-sports, MyWhoosh automatically runs each racer through a proprietary performance verification system for every race.

Performance verification

Each racer's performance is analysed against a multitude of tests to answer MyWhoosh's three questions of performance verification. These are:

  • Is the performance technically legitimate? Is the data clean, accurate, uninterrupted, and without anomaly? 
  • Is the performance humanly possible? Does it align with historical trends of human capabilities for aerobic and anaerobic thresholds, and does it fall in line with the expected outputs of world-class riders?
  • Is the performance achievable by this specific athlete? Does this performance align with historical data, training loads, expected power to HR ratio, etc?

MyWhoosh indoor cycling app

The app boasts realistic graphics and implements real-world physics in a unique way to virtual cycling (Image credit: MyWhoosh)

Dynamic race categorisation

MyWhoosh also uses a dynamic categorisation model, which matches up each competitor with a field of other racers of similar abilities to create a fair and fun racing environment. The categories do not have static limits that remain constant. 

The race commission at MyWhoosh sets the limits based on registered participants and their historical data to prevent accidental miscategorisation. 

As for results, MyWhoosh calculates everything server-side and accordingly has the same delay and visuals that all online multiplayer video games have. 

MyWhoosh is looking to lead the way in this regard, by verifying every single performance in high-level racing and bringing the strength of robust data analysis and even artificial intelligence (AI) into the equation in an attempt to create the most legitimate racing available online.

MyWhoosh indoor cycling app

Longterm plans include evolving the racing product through new and innovative racing styles and structures (Image credit: MyWhoosh)

The ultimate goal

For the team at MyWhoosh, performance verification is just half of the equation. The company plans to evolve the racing product through new and innovative racing styles and structures in the future. Notions surrounding fan engagement where viewers can vote to give a racer a boost or lessen their weight for a few seconds and automated race verification where attributes like race weight, trainer calibration, and acceptable power output based on historical trends are instantly verified in real-time.

The ultimate goal for MyWhoosh is to secure rights to host the UCI Cycling E-Sports World Championships, the Olympics, and a professional racing league that supports e-sports racers with adequate prize money - ultimately leading to the professionalisation of this new cycling discipline.

As it currently stands, MyWhoosh is a free-to-use app, which goes against the current crop of leading players in the best indoor cycling apps. It's going to be very interesting to see how the indoor cycling space plays out over the next several months following the downturn experienced by Zwift and Wahoo, and the ongoing struggles at Peloton.

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A physical therapist with over 25 years of experience, Christopher Schwenker is on a journey to give back to the cycling community for rewarding experiences and fulfilling relationships through the pages of his virtual cycling blog, The Zommunique’, and his cycling-related non-profit, The DIRT Dad Fund.